As an office full of hiking fanatics, we all agree that Switzerland is a must for those looking to reach new heights. With so many valleys and mountain peaks to find, choosing which trail to take can be overwhelming. We have compiled a list of off-the-beaten-path trails in diverse settings. With the help of one of our local guides, these hikes are sure to provide you with a unique and unforgettable experience.
Duration: 2 hours
Distance: 4 miles
Located in the Grindewald and Interlaken area, the Eiger Trail takes you to the base of one Europe’s most well-known mountains: Eiger. With a limestone buttress jutting from the Munch, the Eiger is one of the most iconic images for all mountaineers. Along the route, you pass through high alpine pastures, lake landscapes of Grindewald, and arrive at the intimidating north wall of Eiger.
The pastures of Grindewald are incredibly intriguing where human settlements have worked to exist with a foreboding environment. The view of green pastures complimented with the sounds of reverberating cow bells is heavily contrasted by a sinister looking rock face where mountaineers attempt its summit. At the trail’s midway point, there is a moving memorial to those have perished in their attempts of summiting.
Aletsch Glacier Panorama Trail
Duration: 3.5 hours
Distance: 7 miles
Bordered by two 4,000 meter (approximately 13,000 feet) peaks, the Aletsch Glacier Panorama Trail offers awe-inspiring views. Although Switzerland is home to a number of glaciers, climate change has led to many melting at an astonishing rate. The Aletsch Glacier is one of the few remaining massive glaciers, yet is often missed by visitors! In close distance to Zermatt, the trail meanders at the lower end of the glacier, which runs for a staggering 14 miles and 2,950 feet deep.
Distance: 5.2 miles
Oeschinensee Lake is often regarded as the most beautiful alpine lake due to its stunning turquoise color that reflects off its waters. You begin by taking a cable car from Kandersteg to Oeschinen. Disembarking the cable car, you begin your hike on the Heuburg circular trail, which leads you to the famous lake. Here you can walk to the lake and take a swim in its pristine waters, and thereafter walk to back Kandersteg. The walk back is moderate in difficulty, but worth the trek as it provides stunning cliff views.
Chemin Du Vignoble
For those interested in viticulture, this is a leisurely hike through the Chemin du Vignoble, or the “Path of the Vineyards.” You can walk along its scenic bisse (irrigation channels), which date back to the 13th-century. For rest, we recommend stopping at a winery for lunch and wine tasting before continuing to Sion. Your trail ends at its massive and fortress-looking basilica where you will find the oldest working organ in the world!
You may want to consider waking up early for this five-mile, lush hike with the cows of Adelboden. Every year in the summer, around 500 cows and their farmers begin their climb to the pastures on the Engstligenalp in Adelboden. The cows manage the 600 meter (1,970 foot) accent with surprising sure-footedness. While you may not get a chance to walk next to the cows on their journey, you may choose to walk up the less strenuous, secured track and meet them as they graze on the plateau.
Distance: 4 – 12 miles (depending on the route)
Lauterbrunnen Valley is one of the most impressive trough valleys in the Swiss Alps, situated between mountain peaks and massive rock walls. This area, known as one of the largest conservation areas in all of Switzerland, and its isolation makes this a perfect area to hike. The valley boasts 72 waterfalls, with Stabbauch plunging 300 meters (984 feet), and has such vibrant meadows that make the scenery portrait-like. This vast landscape can be efficiently covered by starting in the town of Lauterbrunnen, continuing to Grutschalp, and then off to Murren and Gimmelwald. In order to cover ground efficiently while taking in the surrounding environment, you may take the pied forest trail, which is a 90-minute ascension. If this is too difficult, you may opt for the tram to Grutshalp having an elevation of almost 5,000 feet. You may continue through the forest, walking along the peaceful streams, until you find Staubbach Falls. As you continue on your route to Murren you will see the Winteregg farm with fresh and savory dairy products. Eventually, you will begin to descend to the charming Gimmelwald Village, looking out at Lauterbrunnen Valley. Here you may take the tram down to Stechelberg Village and walk about 20 minutes to Trummelbach to finish your hike.